Riding success, once-tiny Bike Dog readies to launch Broadway taproom

Riding a wave of steady growth, glowing reviews for its beer and community goodwill, once-tiny Bike Dog Brewing is taking the next major step in its evolution by launching a high-profile taproom on Broadway.

The new venture, to be situated next to a Selland’s Market-Cafe at 915 Broadway in a renovated building across from the Historic City Cemetery, is part of an ongoing craft beer boom that has helped redefine Sacramento’s image. The taproom is slated to coincide with the Selland’s opening in January.

Selland’s will have 7,500 square feet and Bike Dog’s taproom will be 2,500 square feet, along with a patio facing Broadway. The remaining 3,400 square feet will house an architecture firm. The Broadway building has 80 parking spaces and 44 bike racks.

Josh Nelson, the chief executive officer of Selland Family Restaurants and an enthusiastic craft beer fan, recruited Bike Dog to the Broadway site.

“I really like what they do. From top to bottom, they probably have the most solid lineup of beer produced locally,” Nelson said. “For us, I think it will be plenty of synergy. I think we’ll service a lot of the same clientele.”

Since launching its tiny brewery to plenty of fanfare in West Sacramento three years ago, Bike Dog gradually established itself as one of the top craft breweries in town, best known for its San Dog India pale ale and Mosaic pale ale, along with a casual, friendly vibe at its tasting room. Adding to the humble appeal was the idea that all four owners, who met working at the Sacramento Area Council of Governments, or SACOG, have kept their day jobs.

“We have grown organically and we like the feeling of that growth,” said co-owner Sage Smith. “We feel like we have done quite well considering where we started and where we are now.” The other Bike Dog partners are A.J. Tendick, Raef Porter and brewmaster Pete Atwood.

The Broadway project was initially positioned as the new site for The Kitchen, the $175-per-person special-occasion, performance-style restaurant owned by Selland Family Restaurants, which also owns the upscale Ella Dining Room and Bar, the new OBO Italian Table & Bar, and the casual eateries Selland’s Market-Cafe in El Dorado Hills and east Sacramento.

The family eventually reconsidered, and went ahead with a new Selland’s Market-Cafe on Broadway, opting to keep The Kitchen at its current unassuming site at Howe Avenue and Hurley Way.

Bike Dog will continue with its popular West Sacramento location in a 6,000-square-foot industrial space that includes a tasting room and recently expanded brewing operation. Like many bustling breweries, Bike Dog often has a rotating lineup of food trucks on site. That won’t happen on Broadway – the lease prohibits food trucks.

And don’t expect a generic taproom or brewery aesthetic. Bike Dog has enlisted Sacramento’s Popp Littrell Architecture + Interiors to handle the design. Among its clients are Ginger Elizabeth Chocolates, Masullo Pizza and the relocated Magpie Cafe.

The brewery and design teams recently went on a fact-finding trip to the Bay Area, visiting Mikkeller Bar SF, Drake’s Dealership and Temescal Brewing, among others. The taproom will likely draw customers from midtown and downtown neighborhoods, along with Land Park, Curtis Park and beyond.

“We don’t want it to look like a bar or a traditional taproom,” said Smith, noting that plans have yet to be finalized. “We’re going to try to have fun with it. We’re looking to take a chance and do something that people haven’t seen yet in beer.”

The Broadway taproom comes on the heels of the newly opened Fieldwork Brewing taproom in midtown, which has exceeded expectations since it opened a month ago. Based in Berkeley, Fieldwork will also open tasting rooms in Monterey and Napa in the coming weeks.

“We love West Sac. We’re not going to leave West Sac,” Smith said. “But the concern is that as our brewery grows, we’d like to have a taproom in a neighborhood on this side of the river that can accommodate the rest of the people.”

Blair Anthony Robertson: 916-321-1099, @Blarob

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